Grey Corries

Grey Corries and Loch Treig, 21-23 September 2019

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. We were on the Munros in the Grey Corries and above Loch Treig for 3 days of guided hillwalking. John King was leading.

Grey Corries and Loch Treig

Day 1 - Grey Corries

Summer returned to Scotland for a few days and we were lucky enough to catch a day of this for our trip to the Grey Corries. While the days prior to our trip had given absolutely perfect weather conditions, Saturday promised nearly perfect conditions with clear skies, no rain and great visibility, but some very strong winds. With this in mind I wasn't sure how we'd get on with much of our day spent on high ridges exposed to a gusty crosswind. Setting of from Corriechoille at 8.30am our group for the day, Elaine, Emma, Catherine, Amanda, Kyle and Trevor marched into Lairig Leacach Bothy with a strong headwind which didn't give me much optimism for what it might be like on the ridge. After a nice break by the bothy, admiring views back to the spectacular Corbett, Sgurr Innse, we headed off towards Stob Ban, our first Munro of the day.

Staying mindful of the winds we followed a nice path winding up the sheltered Coire Claurigh and left our rucksacks at the bealach between Stob Ban and Stob Choire Claurigh. A steep pull up scree clad slopes led to the summit and the views were magnificent! The peaks of the Southern and Central Highlands could all be seen and we descended down to our rucksacks sure of an even better view on our next summit. Care was needed on the descent due to the loose terrain, but the walk up Stob Choire Claurigh was over nicer ground and we made steady progress upwards. After a good 300m pull we emerged on the top to an incredible scene with views from Ben Lomond to the Fannichs and even the Skye Cuillin making an appearance out west.

Our ridge ahead looked fantastic and the winds were nowhere near what we'd expected so off we went. The ridge walking along the crest of the ridge was a delight. Never dropping below 980m, there is nothing technical about the ridge but it is fairly narrow in places and gives a very interesting and enjoyable walk. There were a few strong gusts of wind in places but we reached our next summit, Stob Coire an Laoigh with no dramas. Now it was decision time. Sgurr Choinnich Mor, the fourth Munro in the range is a diversion off the route and would turn the day into a much longer day than if we opted to descend straight down from this third summit. Given the conditions and how far we'd come, there was a unanimous decision to carry on and embrace the big day! So we continued our walk westwards.

The summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor is a dramatic cone and after a determined push we reached the top to admire the stunning views one last time. After retracing our steps to the Munro Top, Stob Coire Easain, we headed off northwards down a broad ridge towards the forestry around Spean Bridge. It was a good descent with fairly straightforward walking, although a little boggy lower down. Reaching the trees there was a worrying moment where the gate through the deer fence appeared to be jammed and we thought a climb of the fence might be in order but fortunately it released and we were able to follow the path down to the forestry tracks. It was an easy walk from here and Kyle led the charge back to the cars which we reached 11 hours after setting off, a classic round completed in some of the best conditions imaginable!

Day 2 - The Easains

After a big day to start the weekend and with a weather front steadily approaching from the south during the day on Sunday, we decided to keep our objective for the day to the Munros, leaving the fine Corbetts of Sgurr Innse and Cruach Innse for another time. We headed round to Fersit to start the day, with Elaine and Trevor off to other adventures and Mark and Jonathan joining us for the next two days. It was an overcast start to the day, but as we headed along towards Loch Treig the sun started to make an appearance and it was still pleasantly warm for the time of year.

Heading away from the loch, we gained height quickly following a path and winding between the boggiest bits. Soon we were onto the blunt nose of Meall Cian Dearg, which presents a steep climb to gain the ridge towards our day's Munros. After the effort of ascending this step in the ridge it was nice to take a break and enjoy the views of the Grey Corries, Loch Lochy Munros and Creag Meagaidh. Setting off again we started to get some views of our Munros for the day and we enjoyed a pleasant climb up the ridge to the first summit, Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin.

As we climbed we followed the steep eastern edge of the ridge and were able to watch a big heard of deer running across the floor of Coire Meadhon far below us. The hill was just about clear when we reached the top and our next summit, Stob Coire Easain, was looking particularly impressive with steep crags falling away into Coire Easain Beag. After a few photos and a snack, we carried on, hopeful that the clear conditions would continue. Unfortunately as we started up towards Stob Coire Easain the mists rolled in, the rain started and waterproofs were soon getting pulled on. We made short work of the ascent though and with the conditions not encouraging any hanging around, we headed off back the way we'd come for a well-earned lunch in a sheltered spot atop Stob a Choire Mheadhoin.

A compass bearing was required to see us off the summit and onto the right path down the hill, but soon the weather cleared and once again we could wander along this high ridge enjoying some fine views, particularly out to Loch Laggan and Binnein Shuas to the east. Some care is required descending back down the step at the end of the ridge, but we managed it without a hitch and were back down by Loch Treig in the early afternoon. The walk back to the cars was nice, with many of the birch trees starting to turn to autumn colours, and we were back for a relatively early finish, giving plenty of time for a proper nights rest ahead of our final walk of the weekend on Monday.

Day 3 - Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg

These hills make a nice circuit and were an ideal way to finish off a fine weekend in the hills. We met at Fersit once again and set off on the right of way towards Corrour Station. After passing through the houses we quickly emerged onto open moorland and started our ascent up hill. There are a few different trods aiming up the hill here and we made use of several as we picked the least boggy line up the hill. A small stream almost tripped us up, but for the most part the going up the hill was fairly straightforward. As the blunt nose of the ridge leading to Stob Coire Sgriodain approached we finally branched away from any paths and made our way over to a broad gully that led up towards the ridgeline. Reaching the 700m contour we found a nice spot out of the wind and took a short break with atmospheric views out towards Loch Laggan and Creag Meagaidh.

From our perch in the gully it didn't take long to reach the ridge, then the going got much easier as we picked up a nice path leading up to the summit. The clouds were coming and going giving us some dramatic views down to Loch Treig far below, but actually at the top we were ensconced in the mists. A bit of a wind had picked up now as well, so we pulled on extra layers, hats and gloves before heading on, following the ridge southeastwards.

The ridge over to Chno Dearg never looses very much height and is an interesting, undulating walk with several outcrops of brilliantly white quartz, one of which has been used to make a fine cairn on a subsidiary top. As we went we disturbed a ptarmigan which was very vocal about our passing and, as we neared Chno Dearg, a small herd of deer cut across our path ahead of us. The clouds slowly lifted and by the time we were on the final climb to our next summit the sun was out once again. With dark clouds out over Rannoch Moor and the bright light on our immediate surroundings it all looked quite dramatic. We also had a tailwind, which helped blow us up the hill to the huge summit cairn.

We had lunch sheltered in behind the cairn, took the obligatory team photo at the summit, then headed on down. The route took us down open slopes and over some boggy ground but our team made speedy progress over the rough terrain. A few showers passed through on the descent although they were fairly short lived with bright spells in between and stopping on a small ridge to regroup between the showers we were able to enjoy some impressive rainbows over Glen Spean. We rejoined the right of way we had started on only about an hour and a half after leaving the summit and then enjoyed a pleasant walk back to the cars, only interrupted by a diversion to stop some sheep getting onto the railway tracks! Back at the cars in 6 hours was a good time for the round and it was a satisfying end to the trip having visited all 8 of the intended Munro summits. Cheers to all in the group for a fab few days on the hills and all the good chat along the way!

More photos by John King are here on Flickr.

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